James Marsh's documentary revisits the legendary stunt in which French wire walker Philippe Petit crossed between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in August 1974. A charismatic figure, Petit recruited a small crew of coconspirators who helped him infiltrate the building, reach the roof of the south tower, shoot a fishing line to the north tower by bow and arrow, and eventually string a 450-pound cable between the two structures. In his spare time he liked to watch old heist movies on TV, and the documentary is wittily patterned after that genre: there's the same iconic introduction of the crew members, the same meticulous planning, the same heart-stopping suspense when unanticipated complications arise on the scene. In archival photos Petit seems to float between the towers, a tiny black figure against a vivid blue sky; the images are all the more poignant for the unstated fact that Petit is still around when the buildings aren't.
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